MOH News
Dr. Al-Ghamdi: MOH Developed a National Strategic Plan Meant to Care for the Health of Youth and Adolescents
02 April 2012
​   His Excellency the Deputy Minister of Health for Curative Medicine, Dr. Aqeel Al-Ghamdi, revealed that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has developed a national strategic plan meant to care for the health of youth and adolescents. This plan comes as part of the MOH's programs aiming at the provision of comprehensive and integrating health care services for all society segments.
 
In a press conference held yesterday, Dr. Al-Ghamdi pointed out that the Ministry intends to put this strategy into action in the course of five years (from 2011 to 2015) based on nine basic axes covering all necessary aspects of care for the health of youth and adolescents, as well as the provision of their necessary requirements of life. These axes are: early intervention to protect the health of youth and adolescents, raising health awareness among youth and adolescents, designing and developing the information and surveillance system for the health of youth and adolescents, cooperativeness, integration and comprehensiveness of health services provided for youth and adolescents, qualifying health centers to be friends with youth and adolescents, improvement of reproductive health among youth and adolescents, improvement of the youth and adolescents' lifestyles, prevention of disability among youth and adolescents, and improvement of youth and adolescents' mental health.
 
Dr. Al-Ghamdi said, “The Saudi National Strategy for the Health of Youth and Adolescents has been formulated within a scientific, social and religious framework, by way of sound behaviors, theoretically and practically, which concord with the ethics and traditions entrenched in the Saudi society, as well as the international gender equality initiatives, and the principles and morals originating from Shari'a.”
 
He went on to explain, “The overall framework of the National Strategy for the Health of Youth and Adolescents is based upon three main pillars, which are: provision of comprehensive and integrated health services for youth, accomplishment of cooperativeness and coordination between youth and the relevant authorities, and promotion of the involvement of the community, family, as well as the youth themselves, in the provision of health services provided for youth and adolescents.”
 
Dr. Al-Ghamdi mentioned that the ultimate objective of the Strategy is to improve the quality of adolescents' lives, through the provision of high-quality comprehensive and integrated health services (promotional, preventive, curative and rehabilitative), by health facilities and the relevant authorities.
 
Dr. Al-Ghamdi added, “Actually, adolescents' health faces numerous challenges, that require us to work hand in hand and consolidated efforts to provide the proper healthcare services for them. Among the most substantial challenges is the size of adolescent group in the society. It makes up a significant proportion (about 20%) of the Saudi population; i.e. some 5 million people. Another challenge is the prioritization of adolescents' interests, which is of pivotal importance indeed. Education is given the first and foremost priority, with upbringing and refinement proceeding in parallel with education. By education we mean the acquisition of knowledge, whereas, by upbringing we refer to the formation of adolescents' beliefs and refinement of their conscience, ethic and behavior. A third challenge could be found in the diversity of environments affecting adolescents. They are affected by their families, neighbors, friends, classmates, as well as people's lifestyles as shown on TV and the web. One of the challenges, also, is the sensitivity of adolescent-related matters, since they are could be sensitive, or even embarrassing, issues, especially those related to reproductive health. It should be noted, also, that the diversity of adolescent care sources is one of the challenges. We are in need of a unified service system providing integrated and comprehensive healthcare for adolescents. We have many institutions providing services for youth and adolescents single-handedly, without conducting the necessary coordination and consolidated arrangement.
 
Dr. Al-Ghamdi went on to enumerate the challenges facing adolescents, saying that one of such challenges is the difficulty of dealing with adolescents. Service providers need to be fully aware of how to deal with them, and how to address such sensitive matters as sexual education and reproductive health. Such sensitivity is the product of traditions and traditional perspectives, which caused much confusion and misunderstanding in the fields of sexual education and reproductive health among the family and community members. Such traditions hinder the awareness efforts aimed to protect adolescents from other erroneous sources of information and unhealthy behaviors. A common problem, in this respect, is the disconnectedness between adolescents and their families, with regard to sensitive and critical topics. The youth, once regarded adolescents, are alienated and dismantled from their families when it comes to talk about their health- and reproduction-related problems; the responsibility of which lies on both adolescents and parents.
Still, one of the significant challenges is early marriage in some regions, and poor health care services provided to adolescents in some peripheral and remote regions, in addition to the lack of the cadres qualified to deal with the youth.
 
“The First Saudi (and Third GCC) Conference of the Health of Youth and Adolescents, to be organized by MOH in Jeddah (8-10 April, 2012) is considered the flagship of Saudi National Strategy for the Health of Youth and Adolescents,” Dr. Al-Ghamdi affirmed.
 
He further expounded that this conference, organized under the theme: “Societal Involvement in the Promotion of Adolescents' Health”, poses a good chance for experience exchange, and supporting health development plans for the youth and adolescents, with a view to providing health services for this age group, which will be reflected on the Saudi and Gulf society as a whole.
 
“Besides,” Dr. Al-Ghamdi added, “the conference seeks to make good use of the various experiences in the field of adolescents' health, by reviewing a variety of experiences applied locally, regionally and internationally. That is to be added to the promotion of integration and cooperativeness among the providers of health services for the youth and adolescents. It also aims to attain conclusions that contribute to preserving adolescents' health, and encouraging the community and family to effectively participate in caring for the youth, in a way that ensures a distinguished health level, along with protecting youth from health, mental and social problems; thus reinforcing development and reform plans.”
 
Dr. Al-Ghamdi emphasized, also, that the conference places particular emphasis on certain axes, most notably the current situation and strategic frameworks of adolescents' health, as well as the role of public- and private-sector partners, civil society organizations and national, regional and international organizations. It also sheds light on a wide range of experiences and studies conducted in the field of promoting adolescents' health, aside from the risk factors on adolescents that endanger their health and make them vulnerable to diseases. That is to be added to the various life skills that enable the youth and adolescents to preserve and promote their health, as well as improving the skills of service providers.
 
In conclusion, Dr. Al-Gamdi made clear that this conference is organized by the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) in cooperation with the Executive Board of the GCC Ministers of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO), Faculty of Public Health (London), and the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCHS). It is projected that the conference will be attended by non-Saudi speakers, representing the ministries of health in GCC states, as well as American and European speakers. The conference will be attended by 1200 persons, and 42 speakers (from KSA, other GCC states, EU and USA).
 
 



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